Energy Northwest Columbia Generating Station Proposed Enhancements: Transformation of Mothballed Nuclear Facilities Into Hydrogen Oxygen Energy Storage and Electrical Generation Facilities

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Conference Proceeding


Energy Northwest currently owns facilities which were constructed with the intention of implementing nuclear power production operations. Four of the five nuclear power plants envisioned and constructed during the 1970's and early 1980's were not completed and have never been utilized for power production. The halted construction was cause for the largest obligation bond failure in US history. These facilities are ideally suited to implementation of another energy related project which should be much less controversial. One of the most challenging aspect of electrical power distribution is matching energy supplies with demands. With nuclear power, the output can be reduced to avoid overproduction during seasons when hydroelectric production must be increased to reduce water levels. Unfortunately, when that output is dampened, the energy which is not produced is completely wasted. Reduced nuclear power production does not cost less to operate, or extend the lifetime of the fuel. Other forms of clean energy, including wind and photovoltaic production, are much less able to be tuned to demand. The unused nuclear facilities on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are perfect for the electrolysis of water and hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell operations. They are well located and connected to necessary infrastructure, well-constructed and durably designed, and are sitting empty as idle assets ready to be retrofit and occupied. This work examines the requirements for such an implementation. This proposal is for an energy storage facility, it does not suggest that all power used to produce hydrogen for storage come from the Columbia Generating Station. A significant amount of unused potential energy from many diverse sources is currently being wasted on a regular basis. The grid connected storage of that energy from many sources provides efficiency advantages for the entire complex electrical grid.

Publication Title

2014 Sixth Annual IEEE Green Technologies Conference (GreenTech)



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